Don Beck and Christopher Cowan created Spiral Dynamics – an evolutionary human development model. I have found this model extremely useful for my own personal development and it can even partly explain why I’m sometimes not as organised as I would like to be. There are different levels within Spiral Dynamics. Some have us be very structured and others the opposite.
Spiral Dynamics Levels
Humans, both individually and collectively, seem to develop through a variety of levels. See the image below – we move from bottom to top.
Orange – achieving material success
Most of the achievement-oriented Western middle class is operating out of Orange. Structure, drive, organisation and the desire to control nature is strong in Orange. However, Mrs or Mr. Orange forgets that they are nature. Buying into this illusion of separation to the degree that we do has had some dire environmental consequences. There needed to be a response to counter this impact.
Green – driving for deeper value and meaning
Green arose as that response and can be seen strongly in the Hippie movement of the 60s and 70s. Mr or Mrs Green – all loved up and fresh from Burning Man – wants harmony and seeks deep meaning and value. But not only that! They also usually rebel heavily against those “wicked” Oranges down the street. And with that rebellion, often comes a rejection of structure and authority. What the Greens forget is that structure and authority are both perfectly valid aspects of reality. So they throw the baby out with the bath water.
Arrogance and Ignorance
With Orange, Green and every previous level, people believe their worldview is correct and everyone else is blind and wrong. Though this may not always be a conscious assertion. Some of you may have had similar experience as I have had of Green. I’ve seen the most detrimental aspects of Green, alive and well in some activist circles. I have often found these groups full of people who claim to be totally accepting of others. That seems true until someone comes along who doesn’t share their beliefs. Then the real Truth comes out. I know – I’ve done exactly the same thing. Growing beyond this, we enter “second tier consciousness”.
Yellow – transcending and integrating
What happens at second tier is – for the first time, we realise that our own world view may not be the only one that has consequence. In the first level within the second tier of consciousness – Yellow – we “transcend and integrate” what came before. So part of what we Reclaim is our structure, alongside our values. It can be a very empowering time. I spend most of my time here now it seems. By that I mean it is my “centre of gravity” as they say in Spiral Dynamics. Most of the aspects of me – my “lines of development” – are in there. Although, there are some that remain in the lower levels and yet some that reach higher. When we find ourselves stuck at a level of development, the culprit is often damage caused by traumatic events in the past. There are many “second tier” trainings I’d recommend to help heal those traumas. One such is Reclaim Your Inner Throne – a men’s rites of passage, created by my friend Eivind Skjellum.
Why Aren’t You Organised?
So, I’m not claiming that your centre of gravity will be the only reason why you’re not feeling organised. There may be other issues preventing you from actualising your gifts. But ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have trouble accepting people for who they are?
- Do you feel uncomfortable with business and marketing, or with making money?
- Do you have a problem with competition?
- Do you believe there can be no hierarchies and no absolutes? (Except the absolute that there are no absolutes?)
- Do you get annoyed with people, because you know they are wrong?